Uruguayan national team

Game On: South American Saturday continues, Colombia vs. Uruguay up next

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Free-scoring Colombia take on Luis Suarez-less Uruguay in Rio de Janiero at the Maracana on Saturday.

Colombia has been one of the best teams of the tournament so far, racking up three wins from three and scoring nine goals in the process. As for Uruguay, Diego Godin’s late header in their final group game vs. Italy sent La Celest through to the last 16 as they recovered from their opening game defeat to Costa Rica.

The two sides have met 38 times in history, with Uruguay winning 18 and Colombia taking 11.

It will be a rambunctious affair in the famous Maracana, as both teams will be supported heavily by a vast army of travelling fans.

This could go all the way to extra time and penalties, so expect a tight and rambunctious affair in Rio.

[ MORE: Colombia hammer Japan | Uruguay beat Italy to go through ]
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LINEUPS

Colombia: Ospina; Armero, Yepes (c), Zapata, Zúñiga; Aguilar, Sánchez, Cuadrado, James; Jackson, Teo.

Uruguay: Muslera, Godin (c), Pereira, Rodriguez, Forlan, Gimenez, Pereira, Arevalo, Gonzalez, Cavani, Caceres

Talking points

How much will Uruguay miss Suarez? 

This is the HUGE question around this game as La Celeste prepare for life after Suarez. Following his bite on Giorgio Chiellini in their final group game vs. Italy, Suarez has been banned for four months by FIFA and is out of the rest of the World Cup. Edinson Cavani has looked a shadow of the player who ripped it up with Napoli in years gone by but now he needs to step up and shine in Suarez’s absence. He is Uruguay’s only hope up top.

Can Colombia score early… and often?

With the likes of James Rodriguez and Jackson Martinez ripping it up for Colombia in the group stages, they are riding a wave of euphoria into the knockout rounds. If Colombia scores early, in front of what is bound to be a huge number of their own supporters, things could get out of hand. Just imagine if star striker Radamel Falcao would have been fit for the World Cup?

Expectations 

If Colombia score early it will force Uruguay to attack and this game could become a real cracker. However, the likelihood is that Uruguay will sit back, frustrate Colombia and try to score on a set piece like they did vs. Italy.

One blogger’s prediction

This will be a close encounter between two teams who know eachother very well. Expect late challenges, heated tempers and some staunch defense. It will be a real clash of styles at the Maracana, one that Colombia should just sneak with their superior attacking talents. Losing Suarez will prove costly for Uruguay.

Top 20 World Cup moments: Luis Suarez ‘hands’ Uruguay semifinal spot – No. 17

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As we continue our countdown to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil here at PST, each day from now until the tournament begins we will look back at a memorable moment from years gone by. 

Here is number 17.

PST’s Top 20 World Cup moments – No. 17, Suarez handles on the line late on as Uruguay advance past Ghana

In the dying stages of extra time of the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals between Ghana and Uruguay in South Africa, the scores were locked at 1-1 and heading to penalty kicks. Then Ghana had a corner in the 120 minutes and Stephan Appiah’s shot was blocked on the line by Luis Suarez, then the rebound fell to Dominic Adiyiah who headed towards the goal but Suarez batted the ball away… with his hand. Cue a red card for Suarez, a penalty to Ghana and a chance for Asamoah Gyan to send in an African team into the final four of a World Cup for the first time in history. Instead Gyan skied the penalty, Suarez was shown celebrating and Uruguay ended up winning the game on penalties and advancing to the semifinals.

RELATED: Countdown, World Cup Top 20 moments

Suarez became public enemy no. 1 in Africa and was hounded as the man who cheated and angered an entire continent. His actions were deemed as unsportsmanlike by many and heroic by others as his teammate Diego Forlan and coach Oscar Tabarez both hailed the actions of Liverpool’s striker. The incident divided opinions across the globe as Suarez’s actions had handed his nation a small chance of advancing to the semifinals and his gamble paid off.

Would you stop a certain goal with your hand in the dying stages of a crucial World Cup knockout game to give your country a chance of advancing? Think about it.

Suarez’s moment of madness (or genius) became a true talking point in World Cup history.

Race row with Evra reignited: Why Luis Suarez should keep quiet and let his goals do the talking

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Luis Suarez has reignited an issue that threatened to ruin his soccer career.

Why?

Liverpool’s star striker, currently the Premier League’s leading scorer with 23 goals, has told Uruguayan radio station Sport890 AM that racist allegations made by Manchester Untied defender Patrice Evra were ‘all false,’ after the incident that happened two years ago.

By speaking out about this topic, Suarez has risked reopening the race row which saw him banned for eight games back in February 2011 after he was found guilty of racially abusing United left back Evra by the English Football Association.

Since then 27-year-old Suarez bit Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last season, which he admitted regretting in the same radio interview where he talked about Evra, along with regretting another separate biting incident that occurred while he was playing for Ajax in 2011.

As for the incident with Evra, the Uruguayan goalscoring machine showed no remorse. This is what he had to say.

The case with Evra was all false. I was accused without proof. But that’s in the past. I was sad at that moment, but I’m happy today. I have grown up. I have thought more about things before doing them. Now people in England can’t talk about me because I’m not doing anything wrong. They have to talk about me only as a footballer.

We love to talk about you as a soccer player Luis, so please keep it that way.

But I fear that with this outburst against Evra and the Liverpool star hitting out at allegations of racism thrown towards him, we may be chatting about Suarez’s off-field issues and previous discrepancies instead of focusing on what a wonderful player he really is. Let’s not drag the past up. It should be all about there here and the now, because Suarez has been sensational this season.

(MORE: Suarez claims Patrice Evra race allegations were “all false”)

Despite missing the opening eight games of the PL campaign, after being banned for biting Ivanovic last season, Suarez leads the PL with 23 goals in just 18 games. He has been sensational ever since he returned and is a big reason why Liverpool are just four points off top spot with 12 games to go. Suarez, believe it or not, is a shoe-in to win the PFA Player of the Year award and is likely to be in the Premier League Team of the Year too.

There’s only thing that can scupper him picking up all of those individual accolades at the end of the season… his mouth.

Zip it shut, Luis. You really don’t need to talk about anything that has happened in the past, no matter how much injustice you feel. Let your boots do the talking, keep banging in the goals and get your head down to help Liverpool qualify for the UEFA Champions league, or potentially win the PL title, and Uruguay do well in the World Cup.

Talking, or doing other things with his mouth, has only got Suarez in huge amounts of trouble in the past. Now won’t be any different.

England handed tough draw as Italy, Uruguay, Costa Rica stand in their way

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Asked before the draw what teams he wanted to avoid, England manager Roy Hodgson said he had no preference.

But he did earmark one thing: “no games in Manaus” was the cry from the Three Lions boss… and is if by magic England’s opening group game against Italy will be take place in… Manaus.

Tucked away deep into the Amazon rainforest, temperatures will be increibly hot in June and the 99 percent humidity is unlike anything the English players will have ever faced. That said, at least they will be facing another Northern European team there, instead of a South American outfit.

England will also face Luis Suarez and his talented Uruguayan side as Hodgson’s men will have a tough task to make it out of their Group. The one saving grace is that they’ll face CONCACAF’s Costa Rica, however that will be no easy task as U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann let Hodgson know straight after the draw.

So, overall it was one of the worst draws England could get in terms of strength, however despite their one mammoth trip up to Manaus for the first game, the other two matches take place down on the coast near their base in Rio de Janiero, as they take on Uruguay in Sao Paolo and Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte. Logistically, it wasn’t that bad.

For as long as I can remember, England fans have gone into every major tournament believing they can win it, and are then knocked back down to earth with a thud after yet another penalty shootout defeat in the knockout stages. That’s usually how it goes. But ahead of this World Cup, there’s no overriding sense of expectancy for England’s players to achieve greatness and be strolling around the Copacabana with World Cup winners medals round their neck after the tournament is over.

That’s a good thing. The pressure is off.

But Group D provides a stern test for Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and England’s other stars. First up they’ll have a shot at revenge by facing an aging Italian side who they already beat in Bern in a friendly, since they lost on penalties in the Euro 2012 quarterfinals. Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon and others will be having one last crack at the World Cup, and it may be a tournament too far for many of them. England could beat Italy quite handsomely if they set themselves up right in Manaus and alter their high-pressure style.

Then there’s Uruguay and Suarez to contend with as the nation that finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup is sure to be a strong test, especially on their home continent and with a talented group headlined by Suarez and Edinson Cavani. England will have to be on their guard against La Celeste but the Uruguayans aren’t as solid at the back as they were at the last World Cup, so that’s something England’s strikers can exploit.

Finally, Costa Rica. This game could be pointless if England fail in their tough match ups with Italy and Uruguay first, but more than likely they’ll need a result against the Ticos to go through and this could be pivotal. Like Uruguay they are very good going froward with the likes of Alvaro Saborio and Bryan Ruiz lethal in and round the box but they are suspect at the back and I expect England to handle them with ease.

But then again, it’s the World Cup and anything can happen. That’s why we love it so much. England won’t love the group they’ve been placed in but they have to deal with it now.

Then again, how does that old saying go: “if you want to win it, you have to beat everyone…” Something like that. England are by no means the favorites, but low optimism and expectancy could actually work in their favro for once.

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Fixture schedule

14 June 15:00 Fortaleza Uruguay v     Costa Rica
14 June 21:00 Manaus England v              Italy
19 June 15:00 Sao Paulo Uruguay v         England
20 June 12:00 Recife Italy v     Costa Rica
24 June 12:00 Natal Italy v        Uruguay
24 June 12:00 Belo Horizonte Costa Rica v         England

Real Madrid line up audacious bid for Luis Suarez, throw Karim Benzema into mix

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After his stunning return to the Premier League following his 10-game ban at the tail end of last season, Luis Suarez’ stock in the transfer market has risen even higher over the last few weeks.

That may be a good thing for Liverpool… as according to various reports their star Uruguayan striker is still keen to leave the Anfield club and has his heart set on a dream move to Real Madrid.

Suarez, 26, repeatedly confirmed his wish to leave Liverpool over the summer as one of the longest transfer saga’s in recent PL history, and that’s saying something, played out with clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea hovering and the former making a bid that was rejected for Liverpool’s prized possession.

But if Suarez continues to score, he’s bagged six in four PL games already after his sublime hat trick against West Brom on Saturday, can the Reds afford to not cash in on a want-away player now? Maybe, even if they don’t want to sell Suarez, the time is right.

(MORE: Liverpool 4-1 West Brom – Suarez hat trick sinks Baggies, video)

As talk about the January transfer window is already reverberating around clubs, media outlets and terraces across Europe, Suarez’ name will be on the lips of many as top European clubs circle to snap him up. Liverpool are desperate to keep their main man, and I’m sure that will still be the case if Brendan Rodgers’ side are challenging for the title come January time.

Yet if Real Madrid, who are eager to offload plenty of stars to stop crippling debts mounting up, were to offer one of Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria and Sami Khedira, plus cash, for Suarez, that has to be hard to turn down?

From a business standpoint it may make sense, but in terms of the ambition of the club, it would reek of settling for second-best. If Liverpool want to become title-contenders again, Suarez needs to stay and American owner John W. Henry needs to keep firm in the brilliant stance he made over the summer by simply hanging a ‘not for sale’ sign around Suarez’ neck.

It worked, and proved the club now has the power in the situation and Suarez realizes he must keep performing on the pitch for the Reds if any massive move to Madrid will ever come off.

Rumors of Suarez leaving Anfield are about to start heating up again, and expect them to intensify between now and the end of January.

If Liverpool are serious about winning the title and making a splash in the PL, their firm stance of a ‘no sell’ must remain. Suarez’ goals and that cutting edge and ‘X-factor’ he provides up top will be the difference between Liverpool being in the top six or challenging for the PL crown. Their squad may not be quite strong enough to do the latter, but with Suarez’ on board they’ll be a damn good bet to finish in the top four.